As an Adventist, the 666 pointed to the pope, yes... that was decided ...and yet, what about the dreaded Mark of the Beast? What was that thing on our forehead or hand that signified we could no longer worship on the true Sabbath and would prevent us from buying and selling? That was open to fantastic imaginative postulations from our social security number to involuntary sub-dermal electronic chips.
According to Adventists: Whatever the terrifying mark will be--that great deception that Christians will fall to--somehow it is tied to worshipping the beast and those who receive the Beast’s Mark will have no rest day or night (Rev. 14:11) then receive ugly and painful sores (Rev. 16:2). AND Sabbatarian Christians who don’t succumb to the deception, receive the the seal (mark) of Christ. The reward for their faithfulness will be that apostate Christians led by Catholics will hunt them down, persecuted them and behead them for their testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev. 20:4).
The coming end-times prophecies are Not really good news for anyone.
But what about this [original word in Greek deleted] (“sphragizo” Greek for seal, stamp or mark) of Christ? For Adventists-- it’s going to church and resting on the Sabbath (keeping the fourth commandment.) But what about Christians throughout history? Scriptures tell us that our fidelity to Jesus sets His seal on us--Jesus being Himself the seal (John 3:33, 6:27, II Tim. 2:19). But is there something Jesus meant to be a counterpart to the Mark of the Beast that shows we are His? What sign might there be that Christians have been using all along to signify they are sealed by Christ?
It is done by the hand onto the forehead. It has been used in various forms by God’s people since the Jews drew the letter tau on their forehead symbolizing the law--Torah--is in their minds. It was the last thing many Christian martyrs did to show the world that they witnessed for Christ and were sealed by Him. It made such an impression on Roman non-believers that they often copied the Christians hoping to draw from its “magical powers” as a way of warding off troublesome spirits.
A second century Christian, Tertullian, recorded:
“In all our travels and movements, in all our comings in and going out, in putting on our shoes, at the bath, at the table, in lighting our candles, in lying down, in sitting down, whatever task occupies us, we mark our forehead with the sign of the cross.”
It began as a small cross against the forehead and eventually grew in meaning and size. When Christians touch their heads, it represents God the Father, tied to that we motion to our hearts representing God the Son who the Father sent down to us and then the shoulders represent the Holy Spirit. The Blessed Trinity is symbolized and also the idea that we worship God with all our mind (head), heart and soul (breast) and our strength (shoulders). Always incorporated into the sign of the Cross--our Redemption--the purchase of our eternal souls by His merciful blood and our new birth in Christ. This symbol, this seal of Christ, very deep and rich in meaning has been gestured against the Christian since the earliest of times.
Many early Christians wrote about this Christian sign, paralleling it with the saving mark of blood on the doorpost of the Hebrews homes before the Exodus. They also saw this sign in Ezekiel’s prophecy (Ez. 9:4) about those who are marked in the forehead by an angel for their sorrow at seeing the sins of God’s people. As well as John’s vision of seeing those in heaven with the name of the Father on the forehead of those with Him (Rev. 14:1, 22:4).
Perhaps we as Christians, and especially Adventists, need to spend more time on pondering the wonderful sign of Jesus in our hearts, minds and souls rather than on the Mark of the Beast. We should rejoice in the seal of Christ which is Jesus HIMSELF! Christ in us is the mystery kept secret from the foundations of the earth revealed in these last days for us. The sign of the cross reminds us that He is in us, He makes us holy, consecrates us, saves us, redeems us.